Lake Michigan Ship Graveyard May Become Sanctuary
NOAA is proposing to designate 1,075 square miles of Lake Michigan off the shores of Wisconsin as a national marine sanctuary for sunken ships.
According to NOAA, "The shipwrecks in this proposed sanctuary represent a cross-section of vessel types that played critical roles in the expansion of the United States and the development of the Midwest during the 19th and early 20th centuries. During this period entrepreneurs and shipbuilders launched tens of thousands of ships of many different designs, with eastbound ships carrying grain and raw materials, and westbound vessels carrying coal, manufactured goods, and settlers."
The proposed sanctuary site includes dozens of historic shipwrecks, 18 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site is also home to Wisconsin's two oldest shipwrecks, dating back to the 1830s.
If the Wisconsin site receives national marine sanctuary designation, it would bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal resources each year. It would be the first national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan and the second in the Great Lakes.